Trump seeks bragging rights with budget that bloats military, slashes everything else

Trump seeks bragging rights with budget that bloats military, slashes everything else

US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference on February 16, 2017, at the White House in Washington, DC..Trump announced Alexander Acosta as his new nominee to head the US Department of Labor, after his first choice, Andrew Puzder, withdrew from consideration on February 15. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm        (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Donald Trump is planning to unveil a budget that will show him to be a Man of Action focused on the economy. The actions in question: bloating the military budget and slashing the safety net, diplomacy, and environmental protections.

“They might not agree with everything you do, but people will respect you for doing what you said you were going to do,” said Jason Miller, a top communications strategist on the Trump campaign who remains close to the White House.

“He’s doing something first, and there’s time for talk later,” Mr. Miller added. “This is ultimately how he’s going to get people who didn’t vote, or people who didn’t vote for him, into the fold. Inside the Beltway and with the media, there’s this focus on the palace intrigue. Out in the rest of the country, they are seeing a guy who is focused on jobs and the economy.”

Focused on defense contracting jobs, maybe. But all those services Trump plans to cut? People will actually miss those. There’s also an irony to using a budget to portray yourself as a “do something now, talk later” kind of guy. Budgets are moral documents—statements of priorities. They don’t actually get much done; as the New York Times describes it, Trump’s budget is “a numerical sketch that will probably be substantially altered by House and Senate Republicans,” and:

Resistance from federal agencies could ease some of the deepest cuts in the initial plan before a final budget request is even sent to Congress. And Capitol Hill will have the last word.

But for one brief shining moment, Donald Trump will get to pretend to be getting (terrible) things done, and that’s all that matters.